October 18, 2016; The Guardian
WikiLeaks has announced that Julian Assange’s Internet access was cut off—or “temporarily restricted”—by the nation of Ecuador, which granted him asylum in 2012. WikiLeaks finds it a little suspicious that this happened right after the organization released emails from U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager. The transcripts reveal the campaign’s close ties with investment bank executives, which will certainly amplify criticisms from liberal Democrats and others that Clinton is a little too cozy with Wall Street.
We can confirm Ecuador cut off Assange’s internet access Saturday, 5pm GMT, shortly after publication of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speechs.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 17, 2016
It has now been confirmed that no political party within the United States, including the Democrats, were culpable in Assange being denied Wi-Fi access. Ecuador’s motivation for cutting off his Internet is still unknown, but the New York Times speculates, “It is possible that Ecuador feared that, because of its decision to give exile to Mr. Assange, it risked becoming a witting or unwitting participant in an effort at voter manipulation.”
Ecuador…said that its “temporary restriction” of Internet services to Mr. Assange “does not prevent the WikiLeaks organization from carrying out its journalistic activities.”
But it was clearly intended to keep the Ecuadorean Embassy from being the control center for that leaking operation.
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“The Government of Ecuador respects the principle of nonintervention in the affairs of other countries,” it said, “and it does not interfere in the electoral processes in support of any candidate in particular.”
As a result, the statement continued, the government “has temporarily restricted access to part of its communications system in its embassy in the UK.”
On Tuesday, WikiLeaks sent another tweet out accusing Secretary of State John Kerry of pressuring Ecuador’s government to cut off Assange’s Internet access to prevent him from leaking any more documents from the Clinton campaign.
BREAKING: Multiple US sources tell us John Kerry asked Ecuador to stop Assange from publishing Clinton docs during FARC peace negotiations.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 18, 2016
The Ecuadorian government informed the Press Association that, “We don’t respond to speculation circulating on Twitter. Ecuador will continue to protect Julian Assange and uphold the political asylum granted to him.” Julian Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over four years.—Aine Creedon